The Roundhouse will offer sanctuary, and turnaround

-Messenger photo by Anne Blankenship
The Roundhouse in Webster City will serve as a mental health facility.

WEBSTER CITY — A new drop-in center is expected to open later this year in the former Webster City Medical Clinic, 1610 Collins St., Webster City.

The Roundhouse, as the facility is being called, will offer a place for people suffering from mental illnesses to congregate and socialize in a peer setting. The hope is to create a place where clients can support each other during recovery.

Jody Eaton, the chief executive officer of the Central Iowa Community Services region, said her agency was looking for options to help fund services for the building.

CICS serves Boone, Franklin, Greene, Hamilton, Hardin, Jasper, Madison, Marshall, Poweshiek, Story and Warren counties.

Central Iowa Recovery, under the direction of Tim Bedford, will operate the center.

“The thing that’s unique about the way CIR runs drop-in centers is that they operate from a curriculum that provides access to specific activities that will allow the individual to take steps to toward recovery,” Bedford said. “While we’re doing that, they have the support of the peers that actually staff the drop in center.

“It’s a unique set up. People aren’t coming and being stagnant, they are coming and working forward.”

One reasons for the name The Roundhouse is the reference to how a locomotive pulls into a roundhouse to change its direction, Bedford said.

“That’s a concept of recovery — a person who has been struggling with mental illness to have the opportunity to get the guidance and support to change their direction and move forward to recovery.”

Bedford said he’s grateful that CICS Region worked with Hamilton County to develop the drop in center.

“They’ve worked very hard to make this happen,” he said.

CIR corporate headquarters will be located in the building as well. It will continue to offer intensive psychiatric rehabilitation services.

“This location will allow us to act as a hub to access all of the other support services here — with public health here and the food bank, and there are rooms here we can access to meet with additional therapists or substance abuse counselors.”

Along with CIR and CICS and mental health care providers, the Hamilton County Board of Supervisors and some Van Diest Medical Center administration were there Wednesday to learn about The Roundhouse’s functions.

Supervisor Chairman Doug Bailey said CICS will provide up to $200,000 toward the remodeling of a portion of the building, which was given to the county by Van Diest Medical Center to be used for mental health services.

Drs. Subhash Sahai, Sushma Sahai and Anil Sahai opened the Webster City Medical Clinic in 1983. The building had been vacant since the clinic merged with Van Diest Family Health Clinic in 2017. In giving the property to the county, it was stipulated that the facility would be used to primarily deliver mental health services.

Lisa Ridge, Van Diest Medical Center’s chief executive officer, said the need for additional mental health services in the county was evident in a recent Community Health Needs Assessment which the hospital conducted in partnership with Hamilton County Public Health.

“The top perception of health needs in the community was mental illness,” she said.

Bedford said the center would likely open in the fall.